Democracy

E.U. Leaders and U.K. Agree on Brexit Divorce Terms

BRUSSELS — More than four decades after Britain tied itself to its Continental neighbors, Prime Minister Theresa May obtained the approval of the other 27 European Union members on a… By Stephen Castle and Steven Erlanger The New York Times The journey has been long and tortuous for both sides, and the drama is hardly over. Mrs. May must still get approval for the deal — a dense, legally binding divorce settlement and a… Since Britons voted in 2016 to ... Read More »

EU leaders have endorsed Brexit deal at summit in Brussels

Leaders met to agree text of UK Brexit deal and political declaration on the future relationship between the EU and UK Patrick Smyth The Irish Times European Union leaders formally agreed a Brexit deal at a Brussels summit on Sunday morning, urging Britons to back British Prime Minister Theresa May’s package, which faces furious opposition in the… The 27 leaders took barely half an hour to rubber-stamp a 600-page treaty setting terms for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union on March 29th and a 26-page ... Read More »

The anti-Brexiters can get by without a leader. But not without a plan

As the chances of securing a people’s vote increase, the campaign needs to address the discontents of those who voted to leave the first time Andrew Rawnsley The Guardian If there were another Brexit referendum, who should lead the campaign to stay within the European Union? Pop this question to a prominent politician on the Remain side and you sometimes get the response, usually after a faux modest pause, that maybe the best face of the cause would be the person ... Read More »

Switzerland votes against putting ‘Swiss Law First’

Swiss voters have rejected a plan to put Swiss court rulings ahead of international ones. However, they approved of allowing insurers to spy on customers and against a ban on the dehorning of cows. DW Some 66 percent of voters and all of the country’s 26 cantons voted on Sunday against the “Swiss law, not foreign judges” measure. The measure, backed by rightwing groups, called for domestic law to be placed above international law, a move that opponents claim would damage the ... Read More »

Will Erdogan Risk Turkey’s COE Membership?

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding the incarceration of Selahattin Demirtas, of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), is… Semih Idiz Sigma Insight Turkey The Court ruled that Demirtas, a former presidential candidate who has been in prison since November 2016 on terrorism charges, should be released immediately because he had been detained for… The ruling puts Ankara in a bind, because, contrary to what Erdogan is arguing, ECHR ... Read More »

How an EU citizens’ assembly could help to renew European democracy

There’s an urgent need to reduce the distance between citizens of EU member states and the EU’s political institutions, to challenge the rise of populism and to renew citizen engagement in the way those institutions make decisions. James Organ The Conversation An EU citizens’ assembly – a representative group of randomly selected citizens, brought together to learn about and deliberate upon an issue, and then make a policy recommendation – would be a major step towards achieving… That’s the recommendation ... Read More »

Former Turkish PM’s son resurrects his father’s Welfare Party

Fatih Erbakan, the son of former Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, has resurrected his father’s Welfare Party (RP), which was closed by Turkey’s top court in 1998. TM The New Welfare Party was announced by the younger Erbakan in a tweet on Friday. Abdülhamid Kayıhan Osmanoğlu, a grandchild of Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamit II, who died in exile in 1918, was among the founders of the party. Necmettin Erbakan, a leading figure of Turkey’s Islamist movement, had formed the old RP ... Read More »

Friendly Fire: Venezuela’s Opposition Turmoil

As Venezuela’s socio-economic woes deepen, so do the fissures in the opposition to President Nicolás Maduro’s government. ICG Bridging these rifts is vital if the country’s crisis is to end through a negotiated transition. Outside powers should back opposition unity and stop hinting at military intervention. What’s new?  The Venezuelan opposition is split into seemingly irreconcilable factions that cannot settle on a strategy for ending their country’s crisis. They disagree over whether, and when, to take part in elections, whether to ... Read More »

UN Declaration of Human Rights ‘worth celebrating and hanging on to’

Despite “clunkiness in language”, and “lots of references to brotherhood”, the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights is a document that, on its 70th anniversary, remains remarkable, according to a… Jerome Doraisamy Lawyers Weekly Speaking last Friday at the Australian Bar Association and NSW Bar Association National Conference, Professor Hilary Charlesworth said that this particular UN Declaration is “remarkable” in that, for the first time, a… Professor Charlesworth, who is the director of the Centre for International Governance and Justice ... Read More »

Hillary Clinton urges Europe to curb migration to stop populists

Former US presidential candidate says leaders must show they can no longer ‘provide refuge and support.’ Eline Schaart Politico Europe needs a tougher approach on immigration in order to curb the growing threat of right-wing populists, Hillary Clinton said, calling on EU leaders to show their electorates that they can no longer “provide refuge and support.” “I think Europe needs to get a handle on migration because that is what lit the flame,” Clinton said in an interview with the Guardian published ... Read More »

Iran: Mounting Crackdown on Teachers, Labor Activists

Authorities Arrest Union Leaders, Threaten Strikers (Beirut) – Iranian authorities have increased targeting of teachers and labor activists in recent weeks for organizing and conducting peaceful protests, Human Rights Watch said today. HRW On November 13, 2018, the Council for Coordination among Teachers Unions organized a walkout involving dozens of teachers across Iran to protest their insufficient salaries due to high inflation and poor living conditions. It was the second teacher-organized walkout since September 21, when Iran’s public school year ... Read More »

Making Ethiopia’s Electoral Board Independent New Appointment Furthers Gender, Political Reform

New Appointment Furthers Gender, Political Reform Felix Horne HRW There was good news from Ethiopia as former opposition leader, lawyer and judge Birtukan Midekssa was named head of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE). Following years of almost completely closed political space, Ethiopia’s government continues to institute an important series of reforms. The appointment of a highly respected – and crucially, independent – new elections chair is another step in the right direction. The NEBE, like many of Ethiopia’s ... Read More »

George Papadopoulos spreading disinformation to Australia

George Papadopoulos, a one-time adviser to the Donald Trump campaign, is promoting disinformation aimed at Australia, using tactics “in the same vein” as other public figures linked to… Chris Zappone WAtoday Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty in a US court to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian intermediary in September, has since initiated a public relations war against Australia’s former… After Papadopoulos told Downer in 2016 that Russia possessed damaging material about then-US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, ... Read More »

Scotland is Free to join EU, says Spain: Spanish Infuriate UK with goading on Brexit deal

Brexit will lead to the breakup of the UK, according to Spanish foreign minister Josep Borrell, as Spain drops its historic opposition to Scotland rejoining the EU as an independent country. Abbie Llewelyn Express Spain has faced its own independence claim from the region of Catalonia, which voted to separate in a referendum dubbed illegal by Madrid. The Spanish government has always opposed Scotland being allowed to join the EU, apparently worried that it would start a precedent for newly ... Read More »

Why Amnesty was wrong to strip Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi of top honour

‘Speaking up’ will make her look good with the international Press, but it will do nothing for the challenges Myanmar faces. Abhijit Dutta Hindustan Times The international community needs to strengthen her hands, not weaken them. The vilification of Aung San Suu Kyi continues unabated. Whether it is Amnesty International or United States vice-president, Mike Pence, no one, it seems, can wait to signal their virtue by throwing an egg at her face. The gravest charge against Suu Kyi is ... Read More »

81% of whistleblower cases end in negative repercussions, research says

New findings from Griffith University and Governance Institute have shown alarming levels of deleterious impacts of whistleblowing upon those who speak out, which the researchers say should… Jerome Doraisamy Lawyers Weekly While professional organisations support having whistleblowing policies in place, the reality is that whistleblowers are often not well treated, according to Governance Institute. The Whistling While They Work 2: Improving Managerial Responses to Whistleblowing in Public and Private Organisations has found that found 42 per cent of whistleblowers are ... Read More »